War and hunger risk destroying Sudan where fighting between rival generals erupted in mid-April, the United Nations has warned.
“The war in Sudan is fuelling a humanitarian emergency of epic proportions,” Martin Griffiths, the under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator said in a statement on Friday.
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“The viral conflict – and the hunger, disease and displacement left in its wake – now threatens to consume the entire country,” he said, mentioning specific concerns about the safety of civilians in the country’s breadbasket Gezira state.
Conservative estimates from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) say nearly 5,000 people have been killed.
But the battles have prevented the recovery of the bodies of many others thought to have died.
In the four months since fighting broke out, more than 4.6 million people have been forced to flee their homes, according to UN figures.
“The longer the fighting continues, the more devastating its impact. Some places have already run out of food,” Griffiths’ statement said.
“Hundreds of thousands of children are severely malnourished and at imminent risk of death if left untreated.”
The UN official said that in Kadugli, in South Kordofan state, “food stocks have been fully depleted, as clashes and road blockages prevent aid workers from reaching the hungry”.
Al-Burhan to visit Egypt and Saudi Arabia
The war in Sudan broke out in April between rivals General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who commands the Sudanese army, and Mohamed Hamdan “Hemedti” Dagalo, the head of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
On Thursday, al-Burhan made an appearance outside the army’s general command for the first time since the conflict began after he arrived in Port Sudan from Atbara city in the River Nile province, the daily Sudan Tribune reported.
Earlier on Thursday, the Sudanese army published videos of al-Burhan, who was carrying a weapon and inspecting soldiers in several military areas in Omdurman.
Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from the capital, Khartoum, said al-Burhan will embark on a tour to Egypt and Saudi Arabia “to talk about the war and the prospects of peace and rebuilding the country”.
The talks will be significant, Morgan said, due to Egypt’s military alliance with Sudan, and al-Burhan is expected to talk to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Saudi Arabia has been facilitating indirect talks between the RSF and the Sudanese army since May, in order to bring about a ceasefire that allows for humanitarian aid to reach those affected by the conflict.
“These ceasefires have been repeatedly violated and talks have been suspended, with the Sudanese army delegation withdrawing from the Saudi city of Jeddah and returning to Sudan,” Morgan said. “But it’s not clear whether those talks would resume.”